(Updated December 6, 2021) As Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway made its way back to New Orleans this weekend, word came down that 10 people on board have been confirmed as having come down with COVID-19. By Sunday evening, the number had risen to 17 people.
What Happens Next
In a statement, Norwegian Cruise line said they had identified “a handful” of cases among guests and crew on board the Breakaway.
They added that “all of the identified cases on board are asymptomatic. In addition to requiring that 100 percent of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation and contact tracing procedures for identified cases.”
In addition, Norwegian was having all passengers and crew undergo testing before they disembarked on Sunday morning. Announcements were made on board regarding the testing, with guests called deck-by-deck to be tested, with the process taking place in the Manhattan Room, one of the ship’s main dining rooms.
“Any guests who have tested positive… will travel by personal vehicle to their personal residence or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the company.”
Breakaway had departed New Orleans on November 28th before sailing to Belize, Honduras, and Mexico with approximately 3,200 people on board.
No Changes for Future Sailings
As for the voyage set to depart on Sunday, December 5, Norwegian’s statement indicated that “there have been no changes to scheduled future sailings,” adding that they would “provide additional updates to impacted guests as appropriate.” And by mid-afternoon on Sunday, guests were being tested and had begun boarding.
While some media outlets — especially those in the New Orleans area — were quick to catastrophize the situation, others countered that the carefully developed health-and-safety protocols worked exactly as they were intended.
Norwegian Cruise Line sails with all guests and crew fully vaccinated, and also requires a negative test be obtained at the pier before boarding. Because of these precautions, they do not require guests to wear masks or social distance on board. Their website does, however, warn that “as government regulations evolve, our health and safety protocols will evolve as needed to ensure compliance. This may mean different protocols from ship to ship based on local requirements.”